Sunday, 9 April 2017

Flatfish time again

Having a natural break from a project sees me floundering again. I have three ideas, one of which I'm playing around with, but I can't find a good way 'in' to any of them yet. When I get free time I still get drawn back to the bloody beach. Today, however, put an end to that on a sunny weekend. The road was chock-a-block  and no fun at all. As a result it's been a week of unconnected pictures. Which I don't find very satisfying.

Things got so frustrating that I set up a 'studio' in my garage and set about photographing some of the objects I've picked up off the beach over the last few years. I was going to get clever with the lighting but found that the strip lights and window light gave an effect which I preferred. I might have another go to correct the things I don't like.

Firstly I'd light the background (a wrinkled old sheet), secondly I'd make sure the 'horizon' fell in the same place in each frame, thirdly I'd manage the depth of field better to keep the background equally out of focus in each frame.

Naturally enough I made a grid of twelve of the pictures.

I chose to use my 'toy' camera for this as it gives more depth of field than a DSLR. I'm not sure that was a wise choice. The fold down screen helped, but my DSLR has one of those. Being able to select different aspect ratios is one of the things I like about toy cameras. The square format was what I wanted for these pics and it's much easier to frame things right when the picture on the screen is already cropped than trying to guess.

After some discussion on Talk Photography about these pics I am going to collect more bottles. I have a few more than the two in the grid already.

Another benefit of toy cameras is for shooting in black and white. The viewfinder looks like a tiny black and white telly! I still prefer to use colour, but I am getting an irrational urge to do a short project in black and white. Sometimes it seems appropriate for certain images. But I'm not sure I could sustain it for a prolonged period.

Some pictures are almost monochrome when processed in colour.

It comes down to tools for the job. The toy camera has one really useful function for taking candid photographs. A truly silent mode. The only sound is that of the aperture blades closing and opening. With the screen flipped down and the camera at waist level it's surprising how close you can get with a wide angle lens! There's always a price to pay with anything, it seems. The price with the electronic shutter is that under fluorescent light it gives horizontal bands on the pictures.

Shooting at waist level gives a different look to the world, no matter what is being photographed. And I'm quite struck with the novelty of the square format at the moment. I just can't find a project to use them for. As soon as I go back to a real camera, however, that big, clear viewfinder and the subtlety of the tonal gradations in the files makes me wonder why I bother with anything else. No doubt my ideal camera will be made when I'm to decrepit to use the thing.

No comments: